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Starting the party: Big crowd turns out for Elburn Days parade

 Joe Martinez of Elburn holds his son, Braden, 5, on his should to watch the annual Elburn Days parade Friday evening.
Joe Martinez of Elburn holds his son, Braden, 5, on his should to watch the annual Elburn Days parade Friday evening.

ELBURN – Curtis Kruschel grooved to the music Friday night, just south of the train tracks on Route 47 in Elburn. As music pulsed during one dance squad’s routine at the Elburn Days parade, the 20-year-old Maple Park resident was enjoying the scene.

Kruschel and his girlfriend Alicia Williams, a 19-year-old Maple Park resident, said they never miss the Elburn parade, which this year stretched nearly two hours and featured dancers, politicians, emergency vehicles, farm equipment and the Kaneland High School marching band.

“There’s a lot of neat stuff,” Kruschel said.

“The music is the best part,” Williams said.

They were part of a big crowd that lined the streets of downtown Elburn and beyond for the kickoff of the annual Elburn Days festival, which is the signature event of the Elburn Lions Club.

The parade began at 6 p.m. with the national anthem and some emergency vehicles. At about 7:50 p.m., the South Shore Drill Team crossed the tracks to the south side of Elburn, heading toward Lions Park and the end of the parade. Most of the festival takes place at Lions Park, 500 S. Filmore St., Elburn.

The festival was starting up as the parade ended, with carnival rides, Ronald McDonald on the community stage and food vendors, as well as the main stage and the beer garden. It continues through the weekend, with the Elburn Days 5K at 8 a.m. today, as well as truck and tractor pulling, a craft show and the “Elburn Idol” singing competition are among the events planned for the festival.

The parade is the beginning, and while the route is short, the parade continues to draw a large number of participants.

Zach Justus, a Kaneland High School senior from Sugar Grove, was walking back, carrying his sousaphone, after a successful march through the streets of Elburn. In his second year in the marching band, Justus said he enjoys the parade experience.

“I love it,” he said. “I like marching, and I love playing.”

The Kaneland band played “Funkytown,” “Ease On Down the Road” and the school song. Justus said the band plays in several parades each year, and Elburn is one of the most enjoyable, in part because of the large crowd of spectators.

“It makes it a lot more fun,” he said.

Oswego residents Omer and Wanda Horton said they attend the parade each year, in part to watch their grandchildren participate. This year, their grandkids Eric and Michael Layne were in the parade – one with his football team and one in the band. They said the parade was enjoyable, even with the trains that delayed the parade five times.

“The train – that’s part of it,” Wanda Horton said.

Omer Horton said they like to go to “country parades.” Wanda Horton said she enjoys watching the farm equipment. And they aren’t bothered by the politicians that show up for such events. Omer Horton said he enjoys the opportunity to “touch hands with people running for office.”

But the parade is only the beginning. Kruschel and Williams said they were headed to the festival, and they said there will be plenty of reasons to come back throughout the weekend.

“We’ll be there,” Williams said.

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